A record of any one of the pioneers of Cloud county can not but afford interest to the present generation and furnish material for thought and reflection. They are not only the heirs, but also the debtors to these hardy men and women who left their eastern homes and associates, the friends of their happy youthful days, to traverse the plains to the frontier, where with brave hearts and frugal habits they materially assisted in the development of a truly great state. To this class belongs Michael Schwartz, whose name will be perpetuated as one of the earliest settlers of Sibley township. He located his homestead in the autumn of 1865 and has been a resident of the township a greater length of time than any of its present citizens. Mr. Schwartz is a native of Wurternburg, Germany, born in 1834. His parents were John and Margaret (Wolfe) Schwartz. Having been deprived by death of a mother's counsels and care, our subject early in life acquired a tendency to wander and when eighteen years of age emigrated to America and settled in Chicago when the "Windy City" was of much less importance than her millions on top of millions represent today. He did various and sundry things for a livelihood until 1860, when, having accumulated a small bank account, he removed to the state of Iowa and secured eighty acres of land in Buchanan county, but when the call for volunteers was issued the young German, who had adopted America as his home, rented his land, responded to the first appeal and enlisted in Company A, Fifty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and remained in the service until the last bugle call. Within two weeks from the time of his enlistment his company was stationed in the front rank. He was fortunate enough to participate in the hard-fought battles of Ft. Donelson, Pittsburg Landing or Shiloh, Corinth and many other engagements and skirmishes, where hundreds of brave men fell, a prey to the enemy's bullets, and escape without a wound. During his soldier life Mr. Schwartz was married. He returned home on a furlough and reclaimed the "girl he left behind him" - Miss Rosina Free, a young woman of his native land from the kingdom of Wurternburg, but whom he first met in America. Mrs. Schwartz came with her parents to the United States, when ten years of age, and settled in Buchanan county, Iowa, in 1853. In 1865 our subject fitted up a team, a wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen, and with his wife started in quest of a new country, which they found In all the term implies. When they arrived in the vicinity of LeavenWorth they met members of the militia, who told them of the new settlement at Fort Sibley and directed them thither. They found the fortress on section 21, just one-half mile east of their present home, and occupied by the families of Byron Cross and Dennis Taylor. The soldiers had departed and Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz also moved into a cabin, all of which were fortified with logs. Mrs. Schwartz was fated to spend all the earlier part of her life on the outskirts of civilization and became almost immune to the usual Indian scares and braved the dangers alone for days at a time and when there were five different tribes of savages in the vicinity of their homestead. It was truly on the frontier in 1865, the hills being covered with herds of buffalo and antelope and the wild turkeys came in droves around the door of their sod-covered cabin.
Mr. Schwartz started from Iowa with eleven hundred dollars, but as flour was tell dollars per hundred, corn meal five dollars and with other articles of provision in proportion their little fortune disappeared like mist before he sun. After the Indian uprising in 1867-8 Mr. Schwartz, like most of the settlers, left, temporarily, for safer quarters, and not having raised a crop they were in reduced circumstances until 1869, when he had corn to sell. With the year 1871 they began to prosper, and after that period, notwithstanding the grasshopper visitation, they assumed measures for building a comfortable and permanent home. In 1871 he bought the forty acres where his present residence now stands and erected a habitable dwelling, which he has remodeled, added to and continues to reside in. Mr. Schwartz's home is near the new river channel, two miles north of Concordia, in Sibley township, section 20. He now owns two hundred and three acres in this locality and a quarter section in Aurora township, all under a fine state of improvements. He has been successful as a stockman and has made the bulk of his estate in raising hogs; he has also prospered in producing cattle and horses.
Nine children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz, all of whom but one are living. They lost their third daughter, Lucy, at the age of nineteen years. Caroline is the wife of Charles Beahm, a successful farmer of Sibley township. They are the parents of four children, Roy, Edith, Ivy and Ray. Susan is the wife of William Pickering, of Martin, Missouri. They are the parents of one child, Willie, aged five. Delia is the wife of William Finley, a Sibley farmer. The other daughters are unmarried and live at home. They are Eliza, Rosa and Lizzie, prepossessing young women. Mr. Schwartz's daughters being in the majority, they have very substantially assisted in the duties pertaining to farm life and are accorded much credit for their share of the prosperity. Their son, Albert, is the second child, a young man of twenty-two years.
Mr. Schwartz is a Republican and takes an interest in political issues. The entire family are indutsrious,[sic] enterprising people, who have contributed their quota toward the development of local resources.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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